Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard said nothing would stop him from going all out for the NBA Championship after defeating Cleveland Cavaliers 99-89 in a spiteful clash.
|When Howard talks, you listen [AFP]
Howard had 24 points and nine rebounds but played less than 28 minutes because of foul trouble, but five teammates chipped in with double digit scores as the Magic held the Cavs to just 37 per cent shooting.
A typically rampant LeBron James had 41 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Cleveland, but shot just 11-of-28 and missed five free throws in the fourth quarter.
After their first two matches of the series ended as one-point thrillers, Game Three featured some nasty physical play and several hard fouls as Magic took a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference finals series.
Cleveland's Mo Williams needed four stitches to close two gashes along his left eye after taking an elbow in the first half.
Howard and Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao all fouled out, as officials called 58 personals, two technicals, and a flagrant foul in the bitterly contested game.
"We can't worry about nothing, we can't worry about the calls, can't worry about nobody else," Howard said on Sunday.
"We just got to get out there and play.
"Our goal is to win a championship and I can't allow anything to stop me mentally from achieving our goal."
The teams play Game Four on Tuesday in Orlando, where the Cavaliers have lost six of their last seven games.
After winning their first eight post-season games, the Cavs have struggled against the highly physical Magic.
"They have some very good basketball players and they are well coached, you have to give them credit," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.
"They made some pretty good plays to win the game. We're still pretty confident. It's one game, there's still a lot of basketball left."